Krakow’s Old Town – Stare Miasto

To be honest I wasn’t really looking forward to this trip as too much had happened in the lead up. However the minute I stepped into the old town of Kraków, I felt that familiar amazement and wonder I feel when I travel. There were buskers (some playing really great music and posing as silver statues or knights as you do), stalls with flowers, plenty of snap happy tourists, little pretzel stalls, flower stalls, horse and carriages, waiters trying to lure you into their establishment, the waft of food coming from restaurants everywhere you turn and pigeons and people enjoying the afternoon sun as they walked around. All the things I have grown to love and expect.

Krakow’s town old town square is on the Unesco World Heritage List for being the biggest European town square. The edges of the square are rows of old houses and restaurants and the inside is filled with a range of fascinating buildings.

St Mary’s Church:
Firstly there’s St. Mary’s Church. The front section is reserved for prayer, so I went in and pretended to pray in a pew. You can buy a ticket to go into the front section (open from 11.35, zl) to see the famous altar piece by Veit Stoss but I decided to just strain my eyes from the back. This altar piece was one of the first things the Nazi’s took as they ransacked Krakow and when it was finally rediscovered after the war it was in pieces. It took Veit Stoss twelve years to build and four years from it to be restored to its originally glory after the war. After such an ordeal the government decided it was more of a monument now then religious item and were very reluctant to give it back, but finally after 18 years from when it was first stolen it was returned. What a turbulent life for an altarpiece!!!

You can also climb the tower … Need I say more. Anyone who knows me well will understand I have an obsession with climbing bell towers. Except … Day 1 it was raining and too dangerous, day 2 I was in Auschwitz, day 3 I was at the Salt Mines and day 4 was a Sunday and it was closed. I’m gutted.

Everyday on the hour from this tower a hejnal (kind of like a trumpet/bugle) is played. In 2004, when Poland joined the EU the ‘Ode to Joy,’ was also played from up here. They say half way through the song the player deviates from the melody to pay tribute to the original player who was shot when Mongals attacked the town. All I could think of was the Compare the Market/Meerkat ad where he talks about fighting the evil Mongals.

Sukiennice
Next up, the Renaissance Cloth Hall called. Now days it’s full of souvenir stalls which I quite like because it means it’s still buzzing with energy like it would of back in the day. It has all the crests of Poland’s towns painted on the roof which was a nice touch as well! Having sadly run out of room for any more snowglobes I have moved onto magnets and got my first one of the trip from here.

Underneath the is a fantastic exhibition called Ryneck Underground (10-8pm, 18 zl). Between 2005-2010 archeologists excavated the Main Square and had some pretty amazing finds! Also, the pictures of this huge square all dug up are pretty remarkable. This exhibition/museum portrays the old life and story of Krakow. You wander from the Trade Section (with maps and money) to the Blacksmith (with a little house, tools in cabinets, a video reenactment of him making some tools) etc etc. there’s a perfect balance of reenactments on the screens, finds from the dig in cabinets and touch screens where you can change the language and read the history and information about the section you are looking at. All the foundations of the building are on display and there’s also a section with 4 rooms showing brief documentaries tracing Krakow’s history. It’s a very well put together museum and being underground was a great shelter from the rain!

There’s also the town hall tower – the town hall itself was demolished in 1820.

The Adam Mickiewicz Monument:

This square was renamed Adolf Hitler Platz when Krakow was under German occupation.

I’ve spent so much of time in Krakow in this beautiful square watching the world go by.

Advertisements

Hidden Finds In Krakow

Often the best things are the ones you are least expecting. On my second day in Krakow it was absolutely bucketing down with rain which put a halt to my plans. As I was running back from St Mary’s Church to my hostel I took cover under a little alcove. There were a lot of people gathered here and I quickly learnt why – from here you could see the side of a stage with folklore dancing. I had stumbled upon the ‘International Children and Youth Folk Festival.” I watched from my restricted view for quite a while and later that afternoon when there was a break in the weather I went back, perched myself on a stool and watched some more children and youth in gorgeous beaded costumes sing and twirl around. I love folklore. I’ve said for many years I want to learn Eastern European folklore dancing so if anyone knows any good classes in Melbourne, let me know!!!

That same afternoon when the weather Gods kindly decided to let this break in the weather last, I walked down to Wawel Castle. As I was trying to find the entrance, I heard more folk music and could smell bread and ale and wood and fire. Medieval sounds and smells. Sure enough I’d found a Medieval Festival. Could my day get any better? (Answer is yes, it could have STOPPED RAINING for longer and the SUN COULD HAVE SHONE because it’s meant to be summer for crying out loud!) There were little stalls made out of straw with freshly baked bread and bows and arrows and a little ale house. In the middle there were some ladies (in costume of course) teaching medieval dance. Happy days.

Stuttgart Ballet – A Streetcar Named Desire

After 2 flights, a train from Frankfurt to Stuttgart (which was much more expensive than I’d been planning on) and two trams (because I booked far too late to get accomodation in the centre) I made it to my hotel in Stuggart. I couldn’t get the key for my room to work & when I finally got in I lay down for 15 minutes before throwing on a pretty dress and some make up and headed out. I don’t know if it was because I was jetlagged or if I’m more directionally challenged than I thought, but whatever the case I got on the wrong tram and ended up horribly, horribly lost. It took a lot of backtracking, intensive studying of the tram map and another 3 trams but finally after a 45 minute journey, which should have taken 15, I arrived in the area I thought the ballet was in.

If I wasn’t so frazzled or jetlagged I probably really have enjoyed the centre of Stuggart. Schlossplatz is absolutely beautiful and all the fountains, gardens and little cafes full of people sipping beer and enjoying their dinner gave it that typical European evening buzz. I vaguely remembered the opera house being to the left of Schlossplatz and I was just about to stop and ask for confirmation when I saw something incredibly familiar: two elderly well dressed ladies. I have worked at the theatre long enough to know without a doubt they were going to the ballet. I followed them and sure enough they lead me right to the front door.

As I got there an overwhelming peace came over me. I was back in my comfort zone. It didn’t matter I was thousands of kilometers away from home in a country with a foreign language, I knew exactly what was going on. There were two cafes/bars with plenty of tables and chairs (take note Arts Centre Melbourne), a beautiful cloackropm with wooden hangers (only an usher will notice such fine details) and so many happy ballet goers reading programs, sipping wine and champagne, eating biscuits and catching up with friends. I sat down (because there were plenty of chairs in the foyer…) and took it all in. I’ve made a habit of going to the theatre the first night I arrive overseas. The familiarity of it and the joy live performance gives me seems to make all the rushing and waiting and panicking and confusion and disorientation and jetlag dissapear and puts me in the right frame of mind to begin my travels.

The bells chimed and I headed inside. My seat was in the second row from the front and the men next to me stunk of wine.

It was different from anything I’ve ever seen. For a start there was no orchestra pit and I was in the second row from the front. I’ve never been that close before and it was a eye opening experience to see all the details. Im not going to lie watching their shaking legs, desperate hops to stay up en pointe, some dancers centre of gravity being quite far back and one male consistently rocking backwards (I was certain he was going to break his ankle) gave me satisfaction. It makes me feel better about making all the same mistakes in class.

I didn’t like not having a live orchestra. The music was far too loud and didn’t always match the dancers rhythm. The choreography was mixture of contemporary, neoclassical and jazz and there were a lot of different focal points. In my opinion due to the interesting choreography there were simply too many dancers or groups of dancers doing different things.

The first act was predominately a flashback to Belle Reve. Blanche, Stella and the various men were often the focus point downstage whilst the corps danced slow and whimsical pas de deux’s in the background whilst Blanche and her dalliances frolicked around them.

The second act was a stark contrast, this time set in frantic New Orleans. Again, Blanche, Stella and the men were predominately downstage whilst the corps were mainly upstage – jumping and leaping and doing all sorts of things. The men were dressed in jeans and t-shirts and the ladies in all different bold 50’s dresses. It was a bit chaotic. However, the chaos did help convey the Blanches disarray.

Something I did like was how they used spoken language at certain points to convey the narrative. I haven’t seen much of this done before and I think in a smaller theatre this mixture of dance and drama was great combinations. I don’t think it would have worked in the opera house and was a good choice to put it in the more modern Schauspielhaus.

I kept nodding off and jerking awake in the second act as I was so jetlagged and the lady next to me kept giving me strange looks. I was well and truly awake by the end of the curtain call. It was the longest curtain call I have ever sat through, it kept going and going and by the end the principle girl who danced Blanche looked quite irritated but kept her smile plastered on her face which had turned into a sickly grimace. I’m not sure if this is a European thing or has just happened at the ballets and operas I’ve been to but I adore how they raise the house lights for curtain call. I remember doing a ballet class on the Melbourne State Theatre stage and one of the other students complained about how bright the lights were “It’s so sad you can’t see us cheering and clapping and standing up in awe in the curtain calls!” she said to the coryphee taking our class. She has a point. It was so nice to see the dancers being able to appreciate the reception of their audience.

Overall I had a mixed response. Technically they were impressive and the choreography was fascinating. But I didn’t love it. I’m not sure if that’s because I’m a traditional pointe and tutu and fairies and princess ballet girl or if I was so exhausted and jetlagged.

Whatever the case that’s another ballet company ticked off my endless list!

IMG_6338.JPG

IMG_6347.JPG

The Most Photographed Pub in New Zealand – Cardrona Hotel

IMG_5507

Dad had been telling us all about this awesome hotel & pub he had seen on the Internet when he’d been researching somewhere to stay between Te Anau or Queenstown and the Glaciers. The problem was he couldn’t remember the name or the town. Let’s hope we find it somewhere on the West Coast!

On our drive from Te Anau we got to the sign directing us to Wanaka either via Cromwell or via the Crown Ranges and Cardrona. Dad braked and shouted “Cardrona Pub! That’s the place!”

IMG_5487

The drive over the Crown Ranges is spectacular. Well, I thought it was. My brother thought they were just another set of mountains. Only thing worse than more mountains are more lakes in his opinion.

IMG_5488I can’t imagine what it must be like in Winter. There are about 6 chain bays, plenty of warning signs and a couple of sections where they can close the road. It is very steep and windy so don’t drive if you aren’t comfortable and I personally wouldn’t want to risk it in winter. But it’s definitely worth it for the views back into Queenstown.

Not long after you come down the mountain, you get to Cardrona. Cardrona was a gold rush town in 1860 but very little remains except this legendary pub and hotel.

Inside is very quaint. There’s a giant log fireplace and couches which would be so cosy in winter after a good ski. There’s a piano. There are shelves with custom made Cardrona ceramics. There are bras hung above the bar. Classy.

IMG_5494

IMG_5499Outside is a large grassy area, plenty of tables and chairs, a little stage, a playground (with a tyre swing that looks like a horse – can you want anything more in life) and an open fire place. If I had a dollar for every time I said “I’d love to come back in winter, I would have enough to book a flight tonight!”

IMG_5504

IMG_5489

The food was even better. I stared for ages at the main menu. Then even longer on the snack menu. It was difficult. I eventually decided on my three options (if a menu doesn’t have a gluten free option, I choose three potentials and then cross my fingers). To my delight they could do the fush and chups gluten free! Everyone needs to have fish and chips at a pub.

IMG_5501They were delicious! So were Dad’s bangers and mash. Mum and my brother loved their burgers too!

IMG_5500The bar staff told us that the pub is quite famous across if not all of New Zealand, at least the South Island for quite a few reasons. Firstly it was involved in advertising for Speight’s beer. Secondly the old owner James Patterson had an unusual way of monitoring drink driving. If you were driving over those windy Crown Ranges, only one drink. If heading towards Wanaka on the easier road, you got two. Legendary! Thirdly, part of the pub got shipped to England and a competition was held for some people to go along with it and you guessed it drink in the pub the whole way.

IMG_5492Finally, it’s the most photographed pub in New Zealand. I can see why! It’s gorgeous, quaint, quirky and the food and drink adds the finishing touches. It was one of my highlights of New Zealand and that’s saying something!!!

Preparing For Solo Travel

When people find out I have travelled alone or am about to travel alone, they are always shocked. “But aren’t you scared?” “Is it safe?” “Don’t you get bored?” “Is it lonely?” A little bit, yes, never, sometimes.

I think of my progression to solo travel as a journey in itself. I certainly didn’t just wake up one morning and decide to book a trip to some remote, exotic place alone. I am super impressed by the people who do this! I started my adventures with people I knew and then gradually progressed down the ranks to solo.

My first trip was on exchange to France when I was 16 (2009), although ‘exchange’ is a loose term. I always wanted to go into a family for a month or 6 weeks and I’d even started planning everything but I knew deep down I was far too scared. My school offered a French Exchange which consisted of a group of 21 girls (I went to a girls school. Don’t worry the school didn’t only choose girls for this exchange and exclude the boys!) and 3 teachers going for 3 1/2 weeks: 11 days with a family and going to school in Bordeaux, 7 days of travel (La Rochelle, Amboise, Villers-Bretonneux, Amiens, Bayeux), a weekend with another family in a tiny country village in the North and 3 days in Paris. Mum and I went to the information night out of curiosity and came away thinking it was just a fancy holiday. Well surprise, surprise, the day the applications closed I came to school late as I was frantically completing the application in the car with Mum. I got accepted and 6 months later away I went.

DSCI1659

It wasn’t an authentic exchange but I still had a fantastic time. The 11 days at school and with the family was utterly terrifying but my French improved so much. I can only imagine how good it would have been if I stayed longer! The days travelling with the other girls was great fun! Just imagine 21 school girls running around Paris together! It was the perfect balance of history, French lessons and practice and a little bit of free time where we got to stretch our wings and experience overseas freedom (but still have the teachers just a phone call away if there was a crisis).

The next trip I took was on my gap year (2011). My grandparents were always on overseas adventures and after returning from one my Granma told me one day she would go overseas with me. I certainly didn’t forget this. When I started planning my trip I asked her to come with me. She laughed. I reminded her of her promise. “You were 12, you weren’t meant to remember that.” I hassled her for months and eventually she caved. But she had conditions – “We are not backpacking, I’m too old for that. We are doing a tour where they pick up your bags and take them to your room.” Fine by me!

IMG_4100

Outside Mozart’s House – Salzburg, Austria

I always expected Granma would take charge. Upon arrival at Frankfurt airport I looked at her expectantly. “Don’t look at me like that. I’ve never been to Frankfurt. I have no idea how to get to the hotel.” The role of responsibility fell to me. We spent 15 unforgettable days on a Globus ‘Alpine Countries’ tour in Germany, Austria and Switzerland before I made my next ‘progression.’

IMG_4707

Isola Bella on Lake Maggiore, Italy

We left the safety of the tour and the two of us, alone, went to Berlin and Prague for 4 days each. Next we flew to London where I met up with my close friend and Granma flew home.

After we said goodbye to Granma at the airport, we ran around Heathrow Airport and the streets of London overwhelmed with independence. Reality came crashing down when we got to our hostel … Piccadilly Backpackers. It still to this day is the worst place I have ever stayed and that’s not just because t was nothing like the 4 star hotels I’d grown accustomed to. Suddenly I was terrified. How were two 19 year old girls going to get around Europe for 6 weeks? Obviously we survived England, France and Italy and we had the best time. These are still some of the best memories of my life.

DSCI2974

The next year (2012) I had plans to go to NYC with some girls from school. I had a feeling they would both bail and so I had a back up plan. My gut instinct was right and as soon as I got the text message from both of them saying they didn’t want to go, I drove to the travel agent and booked a trip to the UK. It was going to be my first time entirely alone and to reassure my Mum I jumped on a tour for part of it. I really didn’t need to and wish I hadn’t as the UK has got to be one of the safest and easiest places to get around. The minute I walked through the gate at the airport I freaked out and sent a message to my friend I had travelled with which I think said something along the lines of “What am I doing? Help!” as I sat and had a sneaky teary moment in the bathroom. I had nothing to worry about.

IMG_1200

Cliffs of Moher, Ireland

In 2013 I went a little further off the beaten track and did Eastern Europe (Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Serbia). I had no one to come with me so I went alone again. I did book a tour for part of it as I didn’t feel comfortable doing Bulgaria and Serbia entirely alone. I felt so at ease travelling alone by now that I spent most of the time exploring away from the tour anyway and simply used it as an easy means of transport.

IMG_4316

I hiked up part of this mountain in Brasov, Romania

This all prepared me for the 3 1/2 months I spent living and studying in Italy last year and the solo trips I took to Turkey and Belgium on my Christmas break.

People ask why I don’t go with friends. If I had willing friends who could afford it I’d certainly go with them. Sometimes it is lonely but most of the time you meet so many like-minded people and end up forming some great friends. There have also been plenty of moments when I have been standing outside something amazing and wished I had someone to share that moment with or wished I had some help navigating language barriers or train networks. But I also love not having to negotiate or compromise with anyone. If I want to spend 3 hours in a gallery I can! I think I might struggle a little when I go to New Zealand with my family and Europe with the friends I met in Italy next year!

My advice to other solo travellers? Don’t let lack of company stop you! It’s good to go outside your comfort zone. If you are unsure start with something you feel comfortable with and progress like I did. How much you push the boundaries is up to you. It might be hard but it will also be unforgettable, life changing and teach you so much about yourself.

IMG_0529

Trauma and Memorial Tourism

There is something that attracts humans to disaster.

When a building is burning or someone is falling from a bridge, it is like there has been a spell cast that makes it physically impossible to avert your eyes. You see it all the time; when there’s a car crash other cars slow down so they can get a look and often the crowds outside a disaster zone have to be barricaded by police.

Does the same apply to trauma and memorial tourism?

I’d describe memorial tourism as visiting places of famous battles, disasters, wars or unfortunate events. One place that immediately comes to mind is Auschwitz in Poland or for Australians, Gallipoli in Turkey.

Personally I find it very distasteful that such places have been turned into tourist attractions. And yes, I did just use the word ‘attraction.’ I think something becomes an attraction when there are tours, lots of advertising, steep admission fees and large lines and crowds. In Turkey there are advertisements for Gallipoli and day trips to take you there from Istanbul. In Berlin in the midst of summer you can’t get anywhere near the Berlin Wall because there are so many people taking photos of it.

I’m not trying to be a travel grinch and say let’s forbid travel to these places I just want to look at what is happening. When we ‘ohh’ and ‘ahh’ at the Berlin Wall, we are ohhing and ahhing at a wall that used to separate a nation. When we snap our cameras at Auschwitz we are taking pictures of a place where innocent people were tortured, imprisoned and murdered. Would we go and take pictures of the house in the local neighbourhood where an innocent child was murdered? Or book a tour to a nightclub where a group of young boys got into a fight and subsequently all died?

Perhaps it comes down to numbers, If 20 000 people die in a place, should we put up a plaque and charge an entry fee?

Maybe it’s a patriotic thing? I’m not a real, true Australian unless I visit Gallipoli and see where my ancestors fought and died for my freedom. If this is the case, do you think in 50 years we will be visiting sites from the Iraq and Afghanistan war?

In saying all of this, I am being a hypocrite as I have visited some of these sites. These are my memories:

They make me cry:

Driving through the Somme Valley in Autumn and feeling the freezing wind bought me to tears as I imagined all the soldiers freezing to death.

They touched my heart:

I was invited to have lunch at a school in Villers Bretonneux simply because I was a young Australian learning French and they wanted to show their respects as Aussie soldiers saved their village in World War II. It was such a beautiful and kind gesture. Being taken to the Australian cemetery after lunch and seeing uncountable little white crosses left me numb and speechless for the rest of the afternoon.

They make me grateful for what I have:

Standing in the trenches in Gallipoli in the middle of winter and remembering everything I have been taught about the war in history is really an eye-opening experience. I don’t take many pictures. I don’t talk about where we are going in the afternoon or what we are having for lunch. I just stay in the present moment and appreciate my life because who knows when everything I love might come crashing down.

They make me empathetic to others struggling: 

I go to these places to understand more about what went on and to pay respects to those who have suffered. I go to learn about what I, individually, and as humans, can do to stop persecution and learn and respect one another.

I still don’t entirely agree with the tourism aspect of these places. Instead I really value how the Polish run Auschwitz for example. There is no entry fee as they don’t want to make it an ‘attraction’ and strongly encourage people to come and pay their respects and learn more about what happened.

Respect and learning. That’s what it really comes down to.

What are your thoughts on this type of tourism? Have you or would you visit these places? How do they make you feel? Do you think in 50 years we will be visiting places that are currently in crisis? 

The best and strangest place I’ve eaten – Marchfelderhof, Vienna

My dinner at Marchfelderhof was memorable and unique but also a little bizarre.

IMG_4110Marchfelderhof is an old hunting lodge located in Deutsch-Wagram, 30 minutes from Vienna. Although it is a little out of town, it is well worth the drive. I was on a Globus, Alpine Countries tour with my Granma and as dinner wasn’t included that night, our tour guide strongly recommended we join this optional tour. He didn’t give much more information than “you need to see it to believe it” and “you won’t regret it.”

On the bus trip there, our tour guide got us to shout out famous people we would like to have dinner with and shouted back “Yes,” or “No,” depending whether they had dined at Marchfelderhof or not. My suggestion, Cosimo de’Medici, got an emphatic no (understandable as he couldn’t travel through time) and I consequently got interrogated on why I wanted to have dinner with a manipulative murderer. I told you my Renaissance and Medieval history degree had a huge influence on my travels!

IMG_4113

Our bus pulled up opposite an old hunting lodge with an Austrian flag saying “Welcome Friends, Welcome Home,” out the front as well as waiters cheering and waving. One of them stepped onto the main road and held up a stop sign whilst another rolled a red carpet across the road. We crossed the road/strutted the red carpet in style and one of the ladies from our tour got selected to pick up the scissors from a cushion and cut the red ribbon amidst a rousing fanfare. A true VIP entrance!

IMG_4114 IMG_4115

Inside, it got even better. Anything and everything you could ever imagine was displayed on the ceiling, on the floor and on the walls, making it a cross between a museum and a hoarders lair. There were collections of rolling pins, wooden prams, pointe shoes, rocking horses, framed pictures of famous people who had visited, Emperor Franz Josef’s clothes, the list goes on and on.

IMG_4117

We were shown to our table and greeted with complimentary schnapps in test tubes, which were equally cute and strong! The menu was traditional Austrian, but once I saw Wiener Schnitzel I stopped reading! Yum yum yum!

IMG_4148 IMG_4149

Next stop was a quick, well it was intended to be quick, trip to be the bathroom. The collection of odd bits and bobs continued in here. Tubes and bottles and cans of face cream, hairspray and toothpaste lined the shelves, hair dryers and bird cages hung from the roof and inside the cubicle there were countless mirrors (just what we all want when we are in the loo!) and books. Needless to say this wasn’t a quick trip. There was just so much to try, look at and read!

IMG_4127  IMG_4133As I came out I bumped into a lady from my tour loitering outside the male bathroom. She quickly informed me that she was waiting for someone to exit so she go and see what curious items decorated the walls. I joined her. So did about 6 other ladies from our tour. As soon as the man left, we looked around to make sure no one was around and then stormed inside, giggling like little school girls. We weren’t the only ladies! Framed pictures of pin up dolls lined the walls. Suddenly our tour guide burst in behind us, also laughing. Apparently we gave the waiters quite a fright and they were wondering if everything was ok with the female bathrooms as we had all rushed into the males with such urgency!

IMG_4153

IMG_4152

Dinner was lovely. I was a little concerned that my food was going to be dry considering how many people were in the restaurant, but I had nothing to fear! People come here not only for the memorabilia but for good, traditional food as well!

IMG_4124

After dinner things got even crazier. I was chatting to some people on my table and enjoying a Viennese coffee when someone came in and told me my Granma was in trouble. I jumped up and ran to the outdoor terrace. Trouble alright! She was dancing with a Russian man named Boris. Boris could barely speak any english but he got his message across pretty clearly: he was quite smitten by Granma. As I came running in, Granma stopped dancing to introduce me to him, but he clearly was not interested in me which he made very clear by chanting “No. No. No. Granny, Granny, Granny.” Granma informed me she had been minding her own business and exploring the restaurant when she had ‘accidentally’ crashed the Russian’s party. Within a few minutes, Boris had pulled out a wooden box that was overflowing with 50 euro notes and tried to give it to Granma as a ‘gift.’ That’s when I walked in.

IMG_4140“Boris wants you to know, he thinks your Granny is very pretty,” his translator told me.

“Granny, Granny, Granny,” Boris piped in.

“He owns a big house.”

“Big!!!” He gestured.

“With lots of chickens.”

“Chickens!!” He mimed being a chicken.

“He owns an electricity company.”

“Make me very rich. Money all for Granny. Granny be wife.”

At that point, Granma pulled her hand away and exclaimed “But I’m married,” to which all of his friends cracked up laughing and Boris proceeded to chant “Granny,” again.

Granma promised him she’d be back, but she really wanted her coffee. She’s got her priorities right! He linked arms with her and escorted her back to our table.

IMG_4145We desperately started plotting how to get back to the bus at the end of the night without Boris stealing her to become his Russian bride. All our plans failed. As we started to leave the restaurant, he came running after us, yes chanting again, but this time added in “USA, USA, USA.” This was the biggest insult possible to my true-blue Australian Granma.

“No Granny for you Boris,” she chuckled as she stormed past him onto the bus.

This didn’t defer him. To the shock of my tour guide and bus driver he climbed aboard after her and presented her with a red balloon that had love written in 20 different languages. Granma happily accepted her gift and then told him to find someone else. He responded with some suggestive movements and then waved and blew kisses as we drove away.

IMG_4138

Marchfelderhof is truly a little gem. Good food, good decor, good service and ummm interesting people! If only I had found myself a European husband!! Why does my married Granma get all the attention?!

IMG_4155